Seminar on Brunei’s Plastic Sustainability Strategies Marks World Environment Day

27 Jun 2024

Bandar Seri Begawan, 20 June 2024: The Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris hosted a seminar entitled ‘Private Sector Initiatives to Reduce Marine Plastics: Brunei's Journey to Plastic Sustainability: Hands-on Initiatives in Action.’ The seminar aimed to highlight the innovative efforts of the private sector in tackling marine plastic pollution and to share successful strategies and initiatives. The event saw the participation of 127 attendees, both in person and online, from 24 countries. The diverse participation underscored the global interest in collaborative approaches to solving the pressing issue of marine plastic debris.

Moderated by Mr Asnawi Kamis, Principal Consultant at Pinecone Consultancy and Training, the seminar began with welcome remarks from Mr Reo Kawamura, Director of the Regional Knowledge Centre. He emphasised the importance of collaboration between governments, businesses, and academia. He acknowledged the shared challenges faced by Southeast Asian nations and highlighted regional efforts like the ASEAN declaration and action plan to combat marine debris.

Ms Hajah Martinah Haji Tamit, Director of Brunei Darussalam's Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation, reaffirmed Brunei's commitment to tackling plastic pollution alongside ASEAN and global efforts. Highlighting plastic pollution as a critical environmental concern, she acknowledged the benefits of plastic while emphasising the dangers of improper disposal. She pointed out the current economic burden placed on governments for plastic waste management but stressed the need for increased private sector involvement.

Mr Phong Giang, Advisor for GIZ in the ASEAN Regional Projects, explained GIZ's partnership with research bodies and support for pilot programmes that integrate private sector participation in waste management. He backed regulations requiring plastic waste reduction, facilitated dialogues on voluntary Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes, and encouraged students to develop sustainable solutions. Committed to helping the private sector understand and implement future plastic treaties, he offered educational opportunities on EPR and problematic plastics.

Presentations explored various approaches. Mr Michikazu Kojima of ERIA highlighted the region's high leakage of plastic into the environment and the need for improved waste management. He proposed a life cycle approach to tackling the issue, including using alternative materials, designing for recycling, and ensuring proper waste collection.

Mr Muhammad Fakhrurazi bin Haji Salleh, Environment Officer of Parks and Recreation of Brunei, explained that the Brunei Government prioritises plastic pollution reduction through initiatives like bans on plastic bags, public awareness campaigns, waste collection programmes, and regulation of recycling companies. They plan to expand these efforts through continued public education, improved recycling access, exploration of new technologies, and a potential national plastic action plan.

Mr Reo Kawamura, Director of the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris, delivered opening remarks to start the seminar.

Mr Mims Sidi, founder of Tebalik Plastik, shared the startup's goal of closing the plastic loop by transforming plastic waste into sustainable products. He presented their community recycling studio that uses recycled plastic to create new products, reducing plastic waste and raising awareness through education and action. They hope to collaborate with other organisations and are seeking grants.

Ms Trish Lai, Founder of Kaimana Brunei, discussed the challenges of the refill business in reducing plastic waste. She identified high consumer spending abroad, a small local market, expensive shipping, lack of manufacturing capacity, and the necessity of focusing on niche products with anchor points as key obstacles.

Ms Wendy Han, Co-Founder of Precious Plastic Brunei, highlighted initiatives to raise awareness and mobilise communities against plastic waste, including creating local recycling facilities. Despite facing challenges due to limited resources and manpower, they collaborated with a local university to design a sustainable shredder machine, fostering a circular plastic economy and a mindset that sees waste as a resource.

Prof. Scott Valentine of Universiti Brunei Darussalam provided an overview of how the lack of perceived value in plastic waste contributes to the problem and proposed economic solutions like deposit-return schemes to incentivise responsible plastic use and recycling. He pointed out that public policy often uses ineffective methods such as appeals and cleanups and advocated for a multi-pronged approach that includes economic disincentives like deposit-return schemes and plastic bag charges. Strong policy backed by solid rationale and implemented with confidence is necessary to overcome initial resistance and create lasting change.

Panelists engage in a Q&A session, addressing questions from participants about tackling plastic pollution in the Brunei context.

The Q&A session was animated with questions from on-site and online audiences to the speakers. Some of the takeaways of the discussion were as follows: achieving effective plastic waste management requires a united effort from governments, businesses, and communities. Governments can establish regulations and incentives that promote reduced plastic use and improved recycling. Public awareness campaigns can empower individuals to make more sustainable choices. Upgrading collection systems and developing new recycling technologies are also essential. Communities can actively participate through educational programmes and waste management initiatives. Businesses should be encouraged to adopt sustainable practices through economic incentives. Ultimately, a collaborative and multifaceted approach is necessary to tackle plastic waste effectively.

The seminar concluded with a presentation of the Regional Knowledge Centre’s online Private Sector Platform, showcasing an exciting opportunity for private sectors in the ASEAN+3 region to highlight their products, services, and technologies contributing to plastic waste reduction. The ninth instalment of this seminar was organised as part of Brunei’s World Environment Day event series and was conducted in collaboration with Brunei’s Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation, with support from GIZ Indonesia ASEAN.

Author
Communication Team
Communication Team

The Knowledge Centre

Related Links

Bandar Seri Begawan, 20 June 2024: The Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris hosted a seminar entitled ‘Private Sector Initiatives to Reduce Marine Plastics: Brunei's Journey to Plastic Sustainability: Hands-on Initiatives in Action.’ The seminar aimed to highlight the innovative efforts of the private sector in tackling marine plastic pollution and to share successful strategies and initiatives. The event saw the participation of 127 attendees, both in person and online, from 24 countries. The diverse participation underscored the global interest in collaborative approaches to solving the pressing issue of marine plastic debris.

Moderated by Mr Asnawi Kamis, Principal Consultant at Pinecone Consultancy and Training, the seminar began with welcome remarks from Mr Reo Kawamura, Director of the Regional Knowledge Centre. He emphasised the importance of collaboration between governments, businesses, and academia. He acknowledged the shared challenges faced by Southeast Asian nations and highlighted regional efforts like the ASEAN declaration and action plan to combat marine debris.

Ms Hajah Martinah Haji Tamit, Director of Brunei Darussalam's Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation, reaffirmed Brunei's commitment to tackling plastic pollution alongside ASEAN and global efforts. Highlighting plastic pollution as a critical environmental concern, she acknowledged the benefits of plastic while emphasising the dangers of improper disposal. She pointed out the current economic burden placed on governments for plastic waste management but stressed the need for increased private sector involvement.

Mr Phong Giang, Advisor for GIZ in the ASEAN Regional Projects, explained GIZ's partnership with research bodies and support for pilot programmes that integrate private sector participation in waste management. He backed regulations requiring plastic waste reduction, facilitated dialogues on voluntary Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes, and encouraged students to develop sustainable solutions. Committed to helping the private sector understand and implement future plastic treaties, he offered educational opportunities on EPR and problematic plastics.

Presentations explored various approaches. Mr Michikazu Kojima of ERIA highlighted the region's high leakage of plastic into the environment and the need for improved waste management. He proposed a life cycle approach to tackling the issue, including using alternative materials, designing for recycling, and ensuring proper waste collection.

Mr Muhammad Fakhrurazi bin Haji Salleh, Environment Officer of Parks and Recreation of Brunei, explained that the Brunei Government prioritises plastic pollution reduction through initiatives like bans on plastic bags, public awareness campaigns, waste collection programmes, and regulation of recycling companies. They plan to expand these efforts through continued public education, improved recycling access, exploration of new technologies, and a potential national plastic action plan.

Mr Reo Kawamura, Director of the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris, delivered opening remarks to start the seminar.

Mr Mims Sidi, founder of Tebalik Plastik, shared the startup's goal of closing the plastic loop by transforming plastic waste into sustainable products. He presented their community recycling studio that uses recycled plastic to create new products, reducing plastic waste and raising awareness through education and action. They hope to collaborate with other organisations and are seeking grants.

Ms Trish Lai, Founder of Kaimana Brunei, discussed the challenges of the refill business in reducing plastic waste. She identified high consumer spending abroad, a small local market, expensive shipping, lack of manufacturing capacity, and the necessity of focusing on niche products with anchor points as key obstacles.

Ms Wendy Han, Co-Founder of Precious Plastic Brunei, highlighted initiatives to raise awareness and mobilise communities against plastic waste, including creating local recycling facilities. Despite facing challenges due to limited resources and manpower, they collaborated with a local university to design a sustainable shredder machine, fostering a circular plastic economy and a mindset that sees waste as a resource.

Prof. Scott Valentine of Universiti Brunei Darussalam provided an overview of how the lack of perceived value in plastic waste contributes to the problem and proposed economic solutions like deposit-return schemes to incentivise responsible plastic use and recycling. He pointed out that public policy often uses ineffective methods such as appeals and cleanups and advocated for a multi-pronged approach that includes economic disincentives like deposit-return schemes and plastic bag charges. Strong policy backed by solid rationale and implemented with confidence is necessary to overcome initial resistance and create lasting change.

Panelists engage in a Q&A session, addressing questions from participants about tackling plastic pollution in the Brunei context.

The Q&A session was animated with questions from on-site and online audiences to the speakers. Some of the takeaways of the discussion were as follows: achieving effective plastic waste management requires a united effort from governments, businesses, and communities. Governments can establish regulations and incentives that promote reduced plastic use and improved recycling. Public awareness campaigns can empower individuals to make more sustainable choices. Upgrading collection systems and developing new recycling technologies are also essential. Communities can actively participate through educational programmes and waste management initiatives. Businesses should be encouraged to adopt sustainable practices through economic incentives. Ultimately, a collaborative and multifaceted approach is necessary to tackle plastic waste effectively.

The seminar concluded with a presentation of the Regional Knowledge Centre’s online Private Sector Platform, showcasing an exciting opportunity for private sectors in the ASEAN+3 region to highlight their products, services, and technologies contributing to plastic waste reduction. The ninth instalment of this seminar was organised as part of Brunei’s World Environment Day event series and was conducted in collaboration with Brunei’s Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation, with support from GIZ Indonesia ASEAN.

Author
Communication Team
Communication Team

The Knowledge Centre

Related Links
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